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Just got this little email from the Google AdSense team. It reads, in relevant part:

We’re writing to let you know about an upcoming update in your AdSense account designed to help you generate the maximum revenue from your ad units. You’ll soon be able to allow multiple ad networks to show on your pages, which means that advertisers from external Google-certified networks will be able to compete with AdWords advertisers for your ad space.

If you’re unfamiliar with what ad networks are, they’re companies that partner with advertisers and publishers to buy and sell ads on sites they don’t own themselves, similar to AdSense. Ads from these networks will compete with Google ads to show on publisher sites, and the ad generating the highest revenue for publishers will be displayed.

So what does this mean? In a nutshell, this is basically Google’s way of improving optimization and revenue for their publishers while simultaneously nipping in the bud middleman optimization companies like Pubmatic, YieldBuild, and Rubicon Project.

One might also speculate that this leads the way for Google to persuade these third party networks to let AdSense into their networks as well, thus enabling Google to gain incremental revenue by increasing CPMs for their publishers, as well as gaining incremental revenue by increasing the distribution scope of the Google Content Network. Smart move.

So now Google has the DoubleClick network and the expanding Google Content Network, Yahoo has YSM, Right Media, Blue Lithium, and their AdReady self-service partnership, and AOL has Quigo, Advertising.com, and an upcoming self-service bid management tool. Let the exchange/network wars begin (er, continue to get more intense!)

Complete email screenshot is here: